My Price-less (seriously, it was FREE!) Nightstand

Cover Pic Free Nightstand

Do you want to know my favorite price?  Free, of course!  Same with you?  I like to peruse the Free section of Craigslist every once in a while.  Have you ever done that?  People give away all kinds of stuff:  pianos, boats, yard sale left overs, plaid couches, building supplies, pets, etc., etc., etc..  For the most part, I’m not the least bit interested in what I see, but a few months ago I saw this awesome nightstand posted:

Free Craigslist Nightstand Unpainted

School lesson:  The suffix “less” means “without”.  In other words, without a price.  Free.  Remember…that’s my favorite price.  Yep, this nightstand was price-less.  You can bet that I snapped it up!  Once I got it home, it went straight to the back of my garage, where all good projects go to wait their turn to become awesome.  Soon thereafter, HomeRight kindly sent me this awesome paint sprayer:


The HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer.  Imagine a choir of angels singing…I swear that’s what I heard when the package arrived.  Thank you HomeRight!

My free (I love saying that!) nightstand was the first project that I decided to tackle with my new sprayer.  Piece of advice…read the instructions + follow the instructions when you are tackling the unknown.  Smart people wrote those instructions, but, after reading them, I decided that I know what I’m doing.  I have painted a lot.  I mean, a lot, so I decided that there was no need to thin the paint.  Big mistake.  Once I humbled myself and thinned the paint like I should have in the first place, the thing worked like a dream.  I think it took about 3 minutes to paint the whole first coat.  Seriously, it took more time to open the paint, mix a batch of chalk paint (thinned a bit…the instructions show just how much), and walk out to the garage than it did to paint my nightstand.  I was insanely impressed!

Hold it!  I’m getting ahead of myself.  Before I started painting I had some prep, of course.  Worst part of painting furniture, wouldn’t you agree?   Actually, it was just a bit of hand sanding.  I lived through it, somehow.

Even though it is widely known that chalk paint can go on pretty much any surface, I decided to spray on some canned primer just because.  I remember watching a YouTube video years ago of Annie Sloan hand painting a dresser and she painted the handles at the same time with the same paint that she painted the dresser.  I really like the look of the handles being more of a texture, not a standout color, so I decided to also spray a coat of primer on those.

Spray Primed Decorative Nightstand

Ready for the after?  Want to see what 2 coats of paint and about 6 minutes of total spraying time with my new HomeRight sprayer can do?  Well, here you go!

White Painted Decorative Nightstand

Do. You. Love. It?  My price-less nightstand?  I totally do, but I’m not done yet.  Check back soon to see the finished product.  I also plan to share some things that I have learned by using my paint sprayer.  I’ll keep you posted.  Now, head right over to your local Craigslist and check out the Free section.  Hope you find something good!


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DIY: Scroll Saw Tips For Cutting Multiples


Christmas time is coming (squeal!) and for me, that means it’s time to think of what gifts to make for neighbors, kid’s teachers, friends, etc., etc.  “Am I right?  Or am I right? Or am I right?” (Groundhog Day movie reference).   I tend to volunteer in November each year to be in charge of a few crafts for Super Saturday, which is basically a craft day where women at church come and make crafts to give as gifts/ decorate their homes.  It seems like tree ornaments are usually a hit and this year was no different.  Yep,  we crafted this little guy by the oodles:


Does he look familiar?  I would guess that many of you have seen some variation of this ornament all over Pinterest and I would even hazard a guess that you have actually pinned this idea.  Cute, right?  As I was cutting out all of these snowmen,


I got to thinking that maybe some women out there would like to do similar gifts for Christmas and don’t realize just how simple it is to make a plethora of cutouts.  Really it is.  Do you think that I would cut out each of these babies, one by one?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  Let me show you the easy way to get it done.

First of all, you need to have access to a scroll saw.  Do you have one?  I’ll give you a minute while you go check.  I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details of HOW to use a scroll saw.  You can ask your hubby, dad, whoever, or just check it out on YouTube.   I am going to show how I cut out multiples of small things.

I will say that scroll saws are relatively safe to use… the little blade can’t take off a finger like a table saw or chop saw can.  If you can use a sewing machine, (even if you can’t), you can use a scroll saw.  I just purchased thin, birch plywood at Lowe’s.  You can buy 4’x8′ sheets if you want, but I just bought smaller pre-cut sizes for about $5 each.  For about $12 worth of wood, I cut out 76 snowmen.  Cheap, cheap, cheap!


First I made up my pattern and cut it out on thin cardboard (think empty cereal box), then traced around the pattern repeatedly for one row on my board.  The process is the same as if you are making shaped sugar cookies:  you want to fit as many shapes as you can with as little wasted wood as you can.   It may not be too apparent, but I actually have 2 sheets of plywood stacked up.

You can see that I traced 8 snowmen here, then using my scroll saw I cut just below the shapes.  Since the wood can only go so far (see how the saw itself interferes with cutting any further on the right side of the above pic?), I had to back up (keeping the saw blade moving makes it easy to back up) and then come from the opposite side to meet up in the middle:


You can also use a table saw or circular saw to do this.  Side note: scroll saws are not necessarily used for doing long straight lines (thus my hurriedly executed wavy lines).


Here you can see that I traced along the wavy line that I had just cut and then cut along that traced line (again, double stacked plywood).


Remember, the idea here is to cut out as many cutouts at a time as you can.   If you are cutting thicker wood, just stack 2 or three layers, instead.


Next, I just cut to separate each snowman to make the size a bit more manageable.


Like I said before, I cut 4 at a time.  You can hold on tight and cut with the pieces just stacked up, but I like to tape the pieces together using plain, old scotch tape.  It holds the pieces together quite well and then easily peels off afterwards.  This eliminates the need to have white knuckled fingers trying to hold all of the 4 layers together.  (Just ignore that white knuckle!  I was trying to take a picture with my tablet at the same time that I was cutting.)


Now cut.  See that?  One cut=4 snowmen.  8 cuts=32 snowmen!  Something that I have learned is that, if you don’t cut exactly on the traced lines… oh well.  No biggie!  Who is going to know?


Often times sanding is needed to smooth things up a bit.  Since some of my snowman looked a bit wonky, I just used my sander to shape them back up.  A power sander makes it easier, but a piece of sandpaper and a bit of elbow grease works, too.


Which brings me back to this:


and this:


One smart lady brought her own fun stuff to personalize snowmen for her grandkids.

Of course this stack method isn’t limited to snowmen.  If you are new to using a scroll saw, though, I would say that snowmen are a perfect shape to start with.

Click here for a tutorial on how we made these ingenious (if I do say so myself) little carrot noses.  I’m not going to detail out how to decorate the snowmen.  Basically decoupage (think Mod Podge) the sheet music to the snowman cutout. Be sure to note where you want the eyes to go and cut the sheet music accordingly because you want the black dots (eyes) to stand out from the black print. Use stain, dark furniture polish or brown shoe polish (rubbing shoe polish in too much turns the paper yellow) to antique the sheet music.  Add “buttons” and eyes by dotting black paint on (use the end of a skinny paintbrush), then add fabric, buttons and string to dress them up. You can find the sheet music that we used here: DecoupageDeckHalls.

So, get cutting…Christmas is coming!


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